Thu, 01 Oct 2020

Washington [US], September 15 (ANI): United States Ambassador to China Terry Branstad will be stepping down from his position and depart from Beijing in early October, the US Embassy in Beijing said on Monday (local time).

The Hill reported that Branstad, a former Iowa Republican governor who has served as ambassador to China since 2017, will leave amid heightened tensions between China and the US on topics including trade, technology and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though the Embassy did not cite any reason for Branstad's departure, it said that the ambassador confirmed his decision to leave the position in a phone call to President Donald Trump last week.

While thanking Branstad for his three years of service, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tweeted, "President @realDonaldTrump chose Ambassador Branstad because his decades long experience dealing with China made him the best person to represent the administration and to defend American interests and ideals in this important relationship.""Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair. This will have lasting, positive effects on U.S. foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come," he said in another tweet.

Amid the US' criticism on China for the spread of coronavirus, The Hill reported that last week China's People's Daily newspaper declined to publish a column written by Branstad, in which he said Beijing was "exploiting" US openness in recent decades.

While the newspaper's spokesperson was quoted as saying that the article was "full of loopholes, and seriously inconsistent with fact", Pompeo said that China's ambassador to the US is "free to publish in any US media outlet." (ANI)

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